Ch 5 – EU Embassy Run ’19

My most favorite event in DC is the EU Embassy Day Open House, and since my last tour in the Navy was at EUCOM, my love for European countries and their culture is unsatiated.

I realized how much fun it was to visit each Embassy and relish on the food and culture that the Old World offered.

On May 14, over 70 runners showed up at Gold’s Gym Van Ness to do the two favorite things they love: Running with friends and visiting European Embassies all over this multi-cultural city. The Gym was gracious to let us use their space to gather and organize and of course use their restroom facilities.  I slept in the parking lot and used their bathroom and sauna first thing, and I was ready to roll.

The run started in Van Ness with Slovakia and Austria gracious to open their doors for the runners a little bit early. There was the Red Bull van and lots of Red Bull drinks to vitalize mind and body.

Then the runners headed west towards Rock Creek visiting the Kingdom of the Netherlands  where the Heineken was fresh and full of body. A Dutch DJ spun international tunes in the Embassy lounge and everyone was happy to enjoy the melody and librations.

Then to Czech Republic and Hungary where we enjoyed delicious Goulash with wine and admired the athletic prowess of the Vizsla.


This year the runners were treated with a scenic stroll through the Melvin Hazen Trail. The moderately technical, half-mile stretch of quiet trail follows a tributary from Rock Creek. The scenic trail offers lush greenery and water crossings.

Then a trek through Cleveland Park and past the National Cathedral to visit Belgium enjoying great Belgian cuisine and drinks served by Chef Bart of B-Too.
Belgium was our favorite because of the bier and the modern dance music

Next was Observatory Circle with Finland, UK, and a surprise shortcut through Dumbarton Oaks Trail to visit Denmark
Then down Massachusetts towards Sheridian Circle to visit RomaniaGreece and Ireland  – new additions from last year.
Then over Rock Creek Park again and a long trek west to France/Germany
We were given a tour of the state-of-the art embassy and beautiful grounds.  Next came arguably the best food this side of town — the bratwurst and Deutsches bier was appealing to the palate (though I knew I would later regret the early indulgence) and the beautiful German and Bavarian costumes were bright and beautiful to admire (made me have second thoughts about even starting the run). And the Germans rallied behind us and sent us their zealous well wishes: “Viel Glück!” (Good Luck)
But before we set off on the long and windy road, we had one more for the road. Prost! (Cheers) – just over a mile to Georgetown. I love Germany especially German beverages
Finally a run south through Georgetown University and down the Exorcist Stairs to the Waterfront to visit Sweden.
The house of Sweden, is a beautiful building with sophisticated charm and simple design. After walking through a glass entrance, you enter a magnificent reception hall with huge windows overlooking the Potomac. I personally think they have one of the best locations, (nothing beats the Georgetown waterfront), if not the best views.
And last but not least, our traditional post-run party at Mr. Smith’s.

“The money raised will buy a trailer critical to transporting kayaks for the wounded,” said Joe Mornini, Executive Director and Co-Founder for Team River Runner. “A trailer allows us to take healing on the road, and help ease the workload of the volunteers in a community.”

Team River Runner served a critical role during the run, by transporting bags, directing runners and even transporting runners back to Van Ness after the party.

“The embassies along our route were friendly and welcoming. They shared their culture and culinary specialties, offering samples of cheese, pastries, chocolates, wine and more,” said Lisa Sweetland, a first-year runner.

“My friends and I had a wonderful run while experiencing and appreciating the EU’s customs and arts. Thanks to the myriad of volunteers who helped guide us through the D.C. streets and ensured the run moved along smoothly.”

Over 15 Embassies were toured, over a dozen miles were ran and over $3,000 was was raised for  Team River Runner.

The money raised would provide health and healing through adaptive kayaking for wounded service members and their families.